Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

Spin paperback cover Spin (2005)
2006 Hugo Award Winner

Tor books paperback (left)
cover art by Drive Communications, New York
452 pages

Tor hadcover (right)
368 pages

Spin hardback cover

From the back cover of the paperback:
       "THE TIME IS THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, and three adolescents -- Diane and Jason Lawton, and their best friend, Tyler Dupree -- are out stargazing.  Thus they witness the erection of a planet-spanning shield around the globe, blocking out the universe.  Spin chronicles the next 30-odd years in the lives of the trio, during which 300 billion years will pass outside the shield, thanks to an engineered time discontinuity.  Jason, a genius, will invest his celibate life in unraveling cosmological mysteries.  Tyler will become a doctor and act as our narrator and as Jason's confidante, while nursing his unrequited love for Diane, who in turn plunges into religious fanaticism.  Along the way human-descended Martians will appear, bringing a drug that can elevate humans to the Fourth State, 'an adulthood beyond adulthood.'  But will even this miracle be enough to save Earth?....

From the inside flaps of the hardback:
       One night in October, when he was twelve years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his backyard and watched the stars go out.  They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier.  He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout.  It would shape their lives.
       The effect is worldwide.  The sun is now a featureless disk -- a heat source, rather than an astronomical object.  The moon is gone, but tides remain.  Not only have the worlds artificial satellites fallen out of orbit, their recovered remains are pitted and aged, as though they'd been in space far longer than their known lifespans.  As Tyler, Jason, and Diane grow up, a space probe reveals a bizarre truth: The barrier is artificial, generated by huge alien artifacts.  Time is passing faster outside the barrier than inside -- more than a hundred million years per year on Earth.  At this rate, the death throes of the sun are only about forty years in our future.
       Jason, now a promising young scientist, devotes his life to working against this slow-moving apocalypse.  Diane throws herself into hedonism, marrying a sinister cult leader who's forged a new religion out of the fears of the masses.
       Earth sends terraforming machines to Mars to let the onrush of time do its work, turning the planet green. Next they send humans...and immediately get back an emissary with thousands of years of stories to tell about the settling of Mars.  Then Earth's probes reveal that an identical barrier has appeared around Mars.  Jason, desperate, seeds near space with self-replicating machines that will scatter copies of themselves outward from the sun -- and report back on what they find.
       Life on Earth is about to get much, much stranger....

Read for group discussion on August 9, 2006

How we each rated this book
Dan - Amy 7 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 9 Barb -
Aaron - Cynthia 7
Jackie - Ron 9
Christine - Deb -
Mike - Stephanie 7
Patty - Shannon -

Our book group has also read the following books by Robert Charles Wilson:
-- Blind Lake  in October 2004
-- Julian Comstock  in July 2010

Robert Charles Wilson (1953-     ) is a Canadian writer of primarily science fiction. He was born in the US but moved to Canada at age nine.

1994 Philip K. Dick award for novel Mysterium
1996 Aurora Award for Best Short-Form Work in English for "The Perseids"
1999 Aurora Award for Best Long-Form Work in English for Darwinia
2002 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for novel The Chronoliths
2004 Aurora Award for Best Long-Form Work in English for Blind Lake
2006 Hugo Award for Best Novel Spin
2007 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the novelette "The Cartesian Theater"

Hugo Award nominations for best novel
1999 Hugo Award nominee for Darwinia
2002 Hugo Award nominee for The Chronoliths
2004 Hugo Award nominee for Blind Lake
2010 Hugo Award nominee for Julian Comstock

-- A Hidden Place (1986), his first novel, set during the great depression with an alternate faery world
-- Memory Wire (1987), is a lost world, futuristic, cyberpunk thriller
-- Gypsies (1989), alternate worlds adventure with parallel existences
-- The Divide (1990), genetically enhanced man with a split personality
-- A Bridge of Years (1991) features time travel, battling realities, and introspection
-- The Harvest (1992), about the humans who turn down aliens' offer of immortality.
-- Mysterium (1994), is dystopian nightmare when part of Michigan is transported to an alternate America
-- Darwinia (1998), Europe is transformed overnight in 1912 into an untamed jungle
-- Bios (1999), far-future hard SF book about exploring a dangerous planet
-- The Chronoliths (2001), mysterious monoliths suddenly appear from the future
-- Blind Lake (2003), quantum computers allow us to observe life on a distant planet
-- Julian Comstock (2009), dystopian story about a changed America in the 22nd century

Spin series novels
-- Spin (2006), science fiction concerning an artificial shield around the Earth
-- Axis (2007), a direct sequel to Spin
-- Vortex (forthcoming)

Story Collections
The Perseids and Other Stories (2000)

Our book club's page for Blind Lake by Robert Charles Wilson
Our book club's page for Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson
Aaron's book review of Bios by Robert Charles Wilson on Fantastic Reviews
Robert Charles Wilson - Home
Robert Charles Wilson - Wikipedia
Locus Online: Robert Charles Wilson interview excerpts
NESFA: Spin -- Robert Charles Wilson
january magazine: Review | Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
The SF Site Featured Review: Spin
scifi dimensions: Spin by Robert Charles Wilson

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This page was last updated August 05, 2010